Last night I met Janet at Rouge et Blanc in the West Village for dinner. We were both looking for a light meal since we’ve both been over indulging recently. Rouge et Blanc’s Vietnamese/French inspired menu is filled with small plates focused on vegetables and fish so we thought it would be a good choice.
When I started looking through the menu right off I spotted my nemesis, yuzu, in the Watermelon Salad with Yuzu, Olive Oil, Mint & Chèvre. As I may have already mentioned yuzu drives me crazy because its on every menu but I’ve never seen it in a grocery store, gourmet emporium, or Chinatown shop. Despite the yuzu, I have a major crush on watermelon salad so we ordered it anyway.
I had my first savory watermelon salad at the Mark two years ago and have loved it ever since. In the past two years I’ve tried a number of watermelon salads but Rouge et Blanc’s rendition is my favorite to date and I hate to say it but its the yuzu that really makes the dish sparkle. When I started to vent about the lack of yuzu availability, Janet pointed out that she’d recently seen it at Sunrise, the Japanese Market in the East Village. Yay, Janet!
After dinner I walked across town and bought my own yuzu.
Last week Janet and I had dinner at Eataly’s Il Pesce again. She got the razor clams and they were just as delicious as the last time. I tried the sautéed whole fish but it was too plain for me. The mussels that I had last time were much better. To round out the meal we shared a side of sautéed escarole.
We both knew escarole was a leafy green vegetable beyond that we were vague on the details but we were feeling adventurous and deciding to try something new.
Il Pesce’s sautéed escarole was a wonderful introduction to the vegetable. I’m a big fan now. They’d sautéed it in olive oil, garlic, lemon and something else but I couldn’t place what else was in there. The mystery ingredient was adding a delicious umami flavor…. so when I got home I googled it. Mario was kind enough to have his recipe for sautéed escarole up on my favorite recipe site, Epicurious. Mario’s recipe sounded like a very close relation to the one used to prepare our side dish and there was the mystery ingredient, anchovies. Eeeewww. Gross! I should have guessed.
I’m feeling much better after being sick for almost a week. The only problem is now I have an extra liter of diet ginger ale in my refrigerator. My mom always gave me ginger ale and saltines when I was sick as a child so its my go to drink when I don’t feel well but now that I’m not sick, I’d rather not have the ginger ale in my apartment so I decided to have some friends over for cocktails this weekend to help me finish it up.
While in California we visited Nick’s in Laguna Beach. Our meal there was only ok despite Nick’s glowing Yelp review. However Nick’s made a solid Pimm’s Cup, my favorite cocktail which I see much too infrequently on cocktail lists. I almost finished it before I remembered to take a picture. Oops. While Nick’s food wasn’t superb, it has a great location and is a wonderful spot for observing the latest trends in plastic surgery.